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Rail fatalities in Canada reached five-year low last year, safety board says

Transportation accident rates in Canada are trending downward, Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) officials said in a statement issued yesterday, citing preliminary 2011 safety statistics.

The preliminary summary of air, marine, pipeline and rail accidents and incidents that occurred last year shows 7.9 occurrences were reported to the TSB daily, down from 8.4 in 2010. A transportation occurrence is any accident or incident associated with the operation of a ship, pipeline, railroad rolling stock or aircraft. Of the 2,882 total occurrences reported in 2011, 121 caused fatalities.

An encouraging trend in the rail sector continued last year, when fatalities reached a five-year low of 71 versus 81 in 2010, TSB officials said, adding that “notable strides” were made in the number of crossing accidents and non-mainline derailments. Overall, 1,023 rail accidents were reported, down 5 percent compared with 2010’s 1,076. In addition, the accident rate per million train miles dropped from 2010’s 12.8 to 12.

But the number of trespasser-related occurrences remained high last year, accounting for 63 percent of all rail fatalities, TSB officials said.
Board members are pleased with the progress made in transportation safety, “but every year we investigate many new accidents, some with similar causes,” said TSB Chair Wendy Tadros. “We will continue to call upon industry and government to make the meaningful changes needed to ensure our pipelines, our railways, our waters and our skies will be safer for Canadians.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/5/2012